Lessons Learned Skating for GOLD at the Adult Skating Championships

Posted on 11 April 2008 by Dr. Karen

OK, for those of you who have been following me for some time, you know that yesterday was the “day of truth” for me as James, my dream partner, and I took to the ice for our first ever skating competition…and it was a National Competition! For days, I witnessed so many thoughts come and go. I rejoiced that I no longer felt attached to skating well for others. In the past, I was so scared of failing and diappointing my friends, my supporters, my family etc. This time around, that was gone…amazing – I had grown.

Consciously I had asked for the best possible situation for us and everyone we are connected to, and by the next day, I woke up in a bad mood. James and I felt sooooooooooo disconnected – it was so foreign, I couldn’t even describe it to you. I thought to myself, “Dear Universe, how is this bad mood and disconnection gonna help us win the gold medal??”, but the other part of myself said, “just trust it – you are getting your wish”. By the middle of the day, we processed the discomfort and felt EVEN closer than before. We had made it through a brief moment of intense discomfort…and survived! The learning was that I can now tolerate this degree of separation and understand that it is only momentary…what a gift to learn this valuable lesson!

The morning of the competition, I kept letting go of attachments. Of course I wanted us to skate perfectly and win the gold medal, yet I reminded myself to let go of attachments. It was hard. I think it was harder for James as he had never competed before. I was following my own advice – intend an outcome and then let go. We watched the movie Peaceful Warrior the night before our competition to help us remember the lessons of being in the moment….

Thursday morning, I woke up and realized I had hives all over my shoulder – the one I had been nursing with therapy. I laughed. Even though I was itchy (and obviously allergic to my muscle cream!), I knew that this “problem” was not going to set me back! James and I had a good warm up on the ice. Scores of friends had come to watch us. I felt so blessed, and at one point I felt the Angels fly into the building to take their place among the seats to support us. I shed a tear of gratitude. Finally it was our turn to skate.

We skated with passion and intensity. We were flawless….for the first half of the program. Then we made an error on a lift and almost went down. We had to downgrade the lift to a half rotation. Then I really had to focus. “Stay in the moment” I told myself. Every move, I skated with intensity…barely aware of how James was doing…only that I was sending him love, support and encouragement. Our footwork sequence was WOW and received huge applause. The rest of the program was pretty strong…until the end. I fell on my death spiral. No, it wasn’t my sore shoulder this time that was the cause. I have no idea why I fell. Still, we finished with bows, curtsies and waves to the audience in great appreciation for their support. We got off the ice like champions. If you saw us exit the ice only,without having watched the program, you would have thought we skated perfectly!

So, although disappointed in our performance somewhat because of the errors (and James was not successful in many of his jumps), we didn’t stay in disappointment very long. I reminded myself to stay in gratitude. Hoards of people came up to us (people we didn’t even know) and congratulated us on the most entertaning program they had watched at Nationals. I sat back, opened my heart and received. Instead of being negative and downgrading the appreciation, I just practiced receiving and saying THANK YOU! everytime we received a compliment.

Twenty minutes later, while we were cheering for our fellow team members in the next event, we received word that we had WON GOLD! We were surprised, yet also not surprised. We had intended gold, of course….we just never knew we could win even though we skated with so many mistakes….

I realized the lessons The Universe was attemtping to teach me. You see, my personal growth for the last few years has been about letting go of perfection. The Universe wanted to reinforce to me that I do not have to be perfect. I can be absolutely flawed and still get what I wish for. The other lesson I learned was that I push too hard. Had we skated perfectly, I would probably have pushed James to take five more skating tests over the next year to compete one level higher (the gold pairs skating level). Luckily, since we still have yet to put a clean program together in competition, my “pushiness” disappeared. We’ll stay at our level for another year and get more experience. I learned that I don’t always have to push for bigger and better. I can be patient.

The other lesson I learned was that I was very tempted to blame James for some of the mistakes and vice versa. There was a bit of that going on, but we stopped fairly quickly. Blaming didn’t serve us. Heck we won anyway didn’t we? I learned how EASY it is to slip into negativity….so quickly too! So I observed my critical nature, and forgave myself. Anytime a critical thought came up after that point, I just let it pass. I didn’t open my mouth…I just contained it and let it go, not giving it energy to thrive.

You can’t control your negative thoughts, but you can choose not to give them any energy.

I have lots more to tell you, but it will have to wait until my next radio show. I’ll share with you the tools I personally used to attain the “win” that we received. Thanks to all of you who wrote in wishing us good luck on the competition!

Until then,


Dr. Karen Kan
P.S. when I get a chance, I’ll post a photo of us :O)

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